AN ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner has said he would prefer to see a nuclear power station rather than wind turbines sited on land south of Whitchurch.
Douglas Paterson, chairman of pressure group Keep Hampshire Green, has criticised energy firm EDF Renewables’ plan for a 14-turbine wind farm at Bullington Cross.
His comments came at a fresh consultation at Whitchurch Parish Hall by the French energy giant outlining their multi-million pound project in more detail.
Mr Patterson said: “While Bullington is not a nuclear site, because there’s no water, I would feel better making a sacrifice for that rather than a wind farm. Nuclear is a genuine supplier of energy.”
Mr Patterson added that he has turned down offers from developers for wind turbines on his 2,000 acre family-owned Upper Cranbourne Farm.
He has been told that a quarter of his land is suitable for up to six turbines and that would net him an income of £40,000 rent per turbine.
But he said: “For any money, it is a disgusting thing to do.”.
EDF Renewables held the public event to address issues that had surfaced during the consultation held after a planning application was submitted to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in April.
The event addressed concerns raised by the Ministry of Defence about the turbines interfering with radar installations at Middle Wallop and Boscombe Down. The firm is in talks with the MoD to “mitigate the impact of the wind farm on radars”.
EDF also stated that it has compiled fresh evidence which demonstrates that nearby Popham Airfield – which has objected to the wind farm plans – “could co-exist with the wind farm in a safe manner”.
EDF Bullington Cross project manager Darren Cuming said: “Nothing in these responses have made us change our project. It is about trying to work out mitigation, such as aviation.
“What EDF is doing is moving to a mixed, low carbon economy. We are not putting all our eggs into one basket, but wind farms are part of the solution.”
Part of the Bullington Cross application would see EDF paying £5,000 per megawatt of installed capacity to the local community – parish councils or community groups, according to Mr Cuming – up to £140,000 each year.
And, as previously reported, EDF has struck a deal with the Hampshire Energy Group co-operative to purchase 10 per cent of the wind farm. The money made would be ploughed back into community projects.
A decision on whether to grant planning permission is expected by March 2014. If approved, EDF says the farm is scheduled to be powering an estimated 15,000 homes by 2016.